EU lawmakers send mixed message to survivors of corporate abuse

Published: 1st June 2023

Today, the EU Parliament agreed on the new EU law to make companies accountable for the damage they cause to people and the planet: the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD).  

In response, Oxfam EU’s Economic Justice Policy Lead, Marc-Olivier Herman, said:   

“Today, EU lawmakers sent a mixed message to survivors of corporate abuse. While it is good news that the majority voted in favour of EU rules, their proposal staggers at the starting line, as it leaves most companies off the hook and survivors of corporate abuse will continue to struggle for justice.” 

Notes to editors

Marc-Olivier Herman is available for comment and interview.  

In March 2021, Oxfam welcomed the European Parliament’s blueprint proposal for EU due diligence rules. 

In February 2022, the European Commission tabled its proposal. Oxfam labelled it a far cry from what is needed.  

In December 2022, EU countries agreed on their position for this new EU law. They watered down an already weak proposal from the Commission.  

Now that EU Parliamentarians agreed on their position, negotiations between the European Parliament, EU countries and Commission will begin to decide on a final version of the law.  

Oxfam calls for EU due diligence rules that:  

  • Holds all companies accountable for their impact on people and the planet, taking into consideration their size and the risks associated with their activities. 

  • Applies to the entire value chain, which means that it should cover all those affected by the company’s business, including those using their products and services.  

  • Does not let the financial sector off the hook. Banks cannot be allowed to bankroll fossil fuel investments or projects that violate human rights and destroy the planet without being held responsible. 

  • Holds companies responsible for their damage to the planet, including the impact of their products and emissions. 

  • Remove obstacles for survivors of corporate abuse to access justice.  

  • Ties directors’ remuneration to the responsible behaviour of the company.  

  • Hold companies responsible if they fail to ensure workers in their supply chains earn a living income. 

Read the media briefing published ahead of the vote which breaks down the key issues in the proposal, and what EU decision-makers need to do to make it better. 

Contact information

Jade Tenwick I Brussels, Belgium | | mobile +32 473 562260   

Julia Manresa | Brussels, Belgium | | mobile +32 473 87 44 26    

For updates, please follow @OxfamEU. You can also find us on LinkedIn.